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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Iggy and the Stooges - Ready to Die

How do you approach the legend that is The Stooges?
Reverentially with the gloves off wouldn't cut it.
They want to antagonize you and if they aren't doing it then they may as well hang up the leathery skin suit that the Ig dances in.
If you don't get that then you basically have no right listening to them.
You've got to be honest.
Say it as it is.
So okay, with 'The Weirdness' they failed to deliver on a few levels, and the dearth of material from that album in live sets speaks volumes without much actually being said, but here we go with the album they should have came back with.
Burn could be tagged on at the end of Raw Power and barely anyone would have batted an eyelid, but it's when it rolls into Sex and Money that you start to feel the burn.
Sax, sex, some grinding guitar and a fuck you delivery from Iggy and in some messed up way you can hear that everything is okay with the world, that the seething underbelly of the city is still dirty and when you wake up in the gutter that the rising sun will assuredly burn your eyes.
We need songs like that.
Ones that highlight that there's always the flip side of the coin, that the light can't exist without the darkness
Then they give us 'Job'.
The grandfather of dumb punk songs that's been given a healthy dose of viagra.
It's right there standing up and screaming look at me, bet you didn't think I'd be back.
It should be embarrassing, but it's not.
'If I had a fuckin' gun I could shoot at everyone, Thinking out in the USA' from the track 'Gun' is the one lyric that just keeps bouncing about inside my head.
In the space of moving from one track to the next the rules changed.
Here's the good ol' USA stripped bare.
The body rolled out from the flag that it wraps itself in.
A no holds barred denouncement of being sick of being knee deep in bullshit.
Then it doesn't stop messing with you as the band slip into 'Unfriendly World'.
This is The Stooges doing a love song, and as expected it's not going to be anything that's actually expected.
In the aftermath of 'Gun' the last thing you think will come around the bend after it is a slowed down ode to growing older and hanging onto those you love, but it works.
There's nothing disjointed about the change of pace, and although it shouldn't work the whole album keeps throwing up these changes of style and tempo that simply do.
Like Iggy himself, there's no fat on this.
Ready to Die just bounces around like a last hurrah.
I hope it isn't, but of that is the deal then as swan songs go then this is going be nailed down as a job well done.
Everything that I love about Raw Power is revisited on this, but with a better production of course.
I don't mean it sounds like Raw Power, but it has the same energy, the same passion to push at the boundaries a bit, to do what they want on their own terms outside of what is fashionable, outside of what is in an out.
There's no box that you could put this in.
It's simply The Stooges kicking against the pricks and kicking hard.

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